Western Courier

English Department hosts open house

Chris Ginn

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 Western Illinois University’s English Department held its annual open house on Wednesday  was held in the student lounge in Simpkins Hall.

 English faculty who attended the open house expressed that the event is rich in attracting students and promoting English academic student culture.

 “This is the one opportunity during the semester when students who are interested in a degree in English can come together, meet each other, and also meet the faculty,” said English professor Bill Knox.  

 “The open house is a great way to reach out to students for any major or any field. Students appreciate the efforts that are made by departments to come to them or to have events where they’re invited.”

 English Department Chair David Banash agreed. He said that the students who come to the open house have the opportunity to see that English has more potential than what they may have experienced in high school.

 “It’s a really good event to let students know that English is more than just sitting in classes and sort of writing papers, as if that were the whole experience,” Banash said. “Being an English major, being involved in the department as a minor, can be much more than that. Where we have an entire culture and that is largely articulated through student organizations.”

 Representing the English Department and English majors and minors is Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society. President of the Phi Delta chapter at Western Haley Helgesen hosted the English open house.

 “I thought it was a really good turnout,” Helgesen said. “I thought we had a really good number of faculty members show up. I thought we had a good number of students. There was a genuine interest in all of the extracurricular activities that were here. It’s a really good way for people to learn about the opportunities available to them as English majors or minors.”

 As much a social event as it was a promotional event, clutches of students were presented with the different programs offered by the English Department.

 “We had SITREP for Veterans Voices, we had the Creative Writing minor, we had Elements — the creative writing magazine — the Mirror and the Lamp, WIU Game Studies Group, Spectrum, Writer’s Block and the WIU Film Club,” Helgesen said.

 She further mentioned how people within the department have gone on to write for other organizations.

 “We had Rebecca Gonner representing the Mirror and the Lamp and Writer’s Block, we had professor Richard Ness representing the WIU Film Club, professor Barbara Harroun was here talking about SITREP and the Creative Writing minor and then we had professor Rebekah Buchanan here also representing the Boiler Room Reading Series.”

 For more information students can go to the English Department homepage.

 “We have a really good Facebook presence,” Helgesen said. “We also have a really good presence on the Purple Post, and also if they just want to come down. I think any faculty member would be more than happy to talk to them about anything. You have to pass through here for English 180 and 280, so there is probably exposure there to instigate some sort of genuine interest. I would just implore them to reach outside their comfort zone and stop on by.”

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English Department hosts open house